Ukraine II: Filling in Context Not Provided by Corporate Run American TV Networks
In Part II We Delve into the 20th Century History of Ukraine vis a vis its Relationship with Russia & Examine a Couple of Putin's Propaganda Narratives, One of Which Murdoch's Fox News Amplifies
March 7, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The photo at right is currently on exhibit in 'The Storming of the Capitol' photo exhibit at the Bronx Documentary Film Center in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx. It shows how seemingly 'ordinary people' [like the man shown in the photo], can be incited by manipulative leaders, in concert with a faction of the press that manipulatively supports them, to destroy the very things for which they think they're fighting.
Some say there are parallels to what's happening in Putin's Russia, but the cultural differences and institutional complexities make such analogies cumbersome at best. One thing is clear, however, and that is that this saying - long attributed to Thomas Jefferson [and now uncertain] - remains true,
"Eternal vigilance is the price of democracy."
Last Week We Did Part I: A Ukrainian Overview
Last week I provided a look at some of the topline stats someone who wanted to know what was going on might ask. We researched the size of the two nations in terms of population, economies, industries and technology. Ukraine came in well ahead of what I had thought, while Russia came in behind what I had expected to find.
Then I started in on Ukrainian history and culture vis a vis Russia, but found it to lengthy and complex to discuss without further research, so again I gave a very brief topline report noting that Ukraine's borders have been in flux over the past century and beyond.
Then I provided another brief look into Ukrainian and Russian politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. This was followed by describing how the Biden Administration is balancing deterrence while trying to minimize escalation in the face of the military aggression brought on by the new Madman of Europe, and minimize the collateral economic impact on Americans' daily life.
Lastly, I took a look at an Australian born Madman's, American-based mass media outlets' coverage, of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The billionaire's name is Rupert Murdoch, and his organizations' daily distorted coverage of people, places and events is - as a whole - appears to be manipulative propaganda. His propaganda techniques are not unlike - but far more sophisticated than - the propaganda Putin is spreading in Russia.
Unfortunately, Murdoch and Putin appear to be in goal alignment, which appears biased toward kleptocracy and fascism. The difference is that from within our borders Murdoch's Fox News, Wall St Journal and NY Post appear hellbent in undermining Biden [and thus our nation at a critical time for Western Democracy] through their distorted 'news' reporting, while pretending not to do so. While Putin's propaganda machine is located outside of our borders, is state run, and thus answers only to Putin.
The graphics at right illustrate the point, where Murdoch's Fox News uses Biden's worst poll numbers over the past month, in lieu of using the most recent poll numbers. The Murdoch goal appears to use their 'distorted' [and predominantly if not totally negative] news accounts to undermine Biden during the Ukranian crisis, in order to pave the way for the Murdoch chosen candidate for president in 2024, which at present appears to be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who honored Murdoch by providing $570 million of the taxpayers money to Disney in a tax break.
New Yorkers, including Russians, Show Support for Ukrainian Freedom
On Sunday, in Multiple Public Spaces in NYC, I Found Rallies for Ukrainian Independence
March 1, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / / Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
In the photo at right, you can see protesters in Washington Square in the Village, voicing their opinions about Vladimir Putin's unprovoked aggression and invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The woman at the center of the photo asks,
"Why should you care?" and then she answers her question writing, "Putin Invasion = War on Democracy".
Russia & Ukraine - Putting the Conflict in Context - Date Rape
We're going to start a look into Putin's War on Ukraine. In doing so, we're going to report on it by providing a contextual framework to help you see things in a holistic manner, which is something the corporate run daily national news organizations seem to fail to do these days - while favoring sensationalistic, ratings-chasing, gossip-like, news reporting.
The gist of this story is that Ukraine is like a pretty woman who turned down Vladimir Putin's advances, so he decided to rape her.
The Basics - Ukraine's Population, Economy & Technology - Far Bigger & More Developed than I had Thought
Russia has a population of about 144 million as of 2020, while the Ukraine has a population of 44 million. This surprised me, perhaps in part because Russia has played such a visible role on the international stage, while the Ukraine has not.
Russia is also a much larger nation than Ukraine economically, as Russia has the sixth largest economy in the world measured in PPP, which is defined as 'purchasing power parity'. Ukraine, by contrast was the 40th largest economy in the world measured in PPP, and is the 44th [of 45] largest economy in Europe as measured nominally which includes the distortions made by currency exchange rates. Thus, when measured on comparable purchasing power [PPP], the Russian economy is only three times larger than Ukraine's, but because of currency trading, Russia does rates better on the global markets. The PPP numbers are measured based on a basket of currencies - not just the dollar - and thus PPP more effectively filters out currency exchange rate distortions.
The economies of Russia and the Ukraine also differ in terms of what they produce. The Russian economy is the second largest producer of oil and energy, including natural gas. Energy is Russia's largest single export and accounts for a significant portion of their government revenue. Russia is also rich in raw materials, commodities and minerals, which are used in its manufacturing sector. But the bulk of the Russian economy has been modernized and nearly two thirds of its economy is comprised of services.
The Ukraine has a large agricultural sector, as well as metals and coal sectors, which - as in Russia - facilitate manufacturing, and the Ukraine has the second largest natural gas reserves in Europe [but they still are a net importer of energy]. I couldn't find out what percent of the economy of the Ukraine was in services, but they have the fourth highest number of IT professionals in the world, and by 2015 over half of the nation had internet access [and in Kyiv it was 90%]. And their manufacturing base includes shipbuilding, aerospace and automotive.
So, to my suprise, the Ukraine is far bigger and is a far more technologically advanced than I had thought. And this helps explain why the little dictator, Vladimir Putin, is having trouble subjugating them.
NYC News Updates, Chinese New Year & Micaiah Carter @ SN37
MTA Ridership & Crime, NYC Vaccination Rates & Some NYS Mask Mandates End & is Biden Doing the Right Thing in Ukraine?
February 22, 2022 / Things To Do NYC / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This report is a catch up on some of the key local news items over the past couple of weeks.
MTA Ridership Slowly Inching Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels / Hochul Announces Fare Capping Program / MTA Crime not as Huge as the Corporate Broadcast Media Sensationalizes it
In the photo at right are a number of Chinese American women, who participated in the Chinese New Year Parade celebrating the year of the Tiger in Chinatown in Manhattan, were out to see and be seen last Sunday.
We've been tracking MTA ridership since the pandemic began. The subway ridership plummeted down 90% when the pandemic broke in the Spring of 2020. By the fall of 2020 MTA ridership had risen to a loss of 80%, rising to a loss of 50% - 66% in the Spring of 2021, and then a loss of 35% - 55% in the Fall of 2021. As of this week, the MTA subway ridership losses were in the range of 28% - 43% versus pre-pandemic.
On February 7, 2022, NYS Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new 'Fare Capping Program' whereby passengers would only have to pay for 12 full fare rides in a week [but using the same device / MetroCard] and after which the rides for the rest of the week would be free [Monday - Sunday]. The program begins Monday, February 28th and is expected to run for four months.
The corporate broadcast media seems to sensationalize everything these days in order to ratchet up their ratings, revenue and profit. MTA Ridership during the winter a year ago was about half the pre-pandemic level, and today it's about two thirds the pre-pandemic level meaning it has risen about 50% vs a year ago. According to NYPD Compustat, crime in the subway during the past 28 days is up 33%, so crime isn't rising as fast as ridership.
Nonetheless, crime in the subways is up by about the same percentage versus the pre-pandemic levels, so it's a bigger problem than it was before the pandemic started. It is believed, that the reason for the higher transit crime rate, is that as fewer people rode the rails during the pandemic, the homeless moved in and were able to use the subway as their shelter.
Late last week NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NYS Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the city and the state would collaborate to increase the NYPD presence in the subways to remove and / or assist the homeless from making the MTA their home by offering them an option to leave or an option to get medical, psychiatric and social services help. To that end it was noted that the NYPD upped the deployment of NYPD [about 1,000 officers] into the transit system, focusing - it seems - on the major hubs, and the Governor was working on multi-billion healthcare plans which would include provisions for helping the mentally ill and homeless.
NYC & NYS Vaccination Rates Well Ahead of National Rates
The current NYC vaccination rate is 77%, with another 9% having received at least one dose [86%]. The current NYS vaccination rate is 75%, with another 12% having received at least one dose [87%]. The current U.S. vaccination rate is 65%, with another 12% having received at least one dose [77%].
As a result of the vaccination rates, and with the passing of the Omicron super spreader holiday season, CoVid Omicron new case growth, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining at the NYC, NYS and USA levels.
- For New York City the weekly, daily average, test rate of 1.7% for new cases, with only a weekly, daily average new case rate of 707 reported, a weekly, daily average rate of 35 hospitalizations and a weekly, daily average rate of 17 deaths.
- For New York State the same weekly, daily average rates are 2% positive new test cases, about 1,750 daily new cases, about 200 daily new hospitalizations and about 35 daily new deaths.
- For the United States the same rates are 8% positive new cases [this is a week old number compared to the others herein], about 84,878 new cases, about 8,642 hospitalizations [this is a week old number compared to the others herein] and 1,964 daily deaths.
- NYC and NYS are leading the rest of the U.S. in pulling out of the pandemic, as the southern and central states are lagging behind. If you look at a map showing vaccination rates versus a map showing infection rates, you can see that they are inversely related.
- Are these maps indicative of the intelligence, or how well informed the people of each state are? Do the smart people live in the states with the higher vaccination rates, or are the people who got infected with CoVid at higher rates [because they didn't get vaccinated], living in states where they have fewer or less reliable information sources, like Fox News? Studies have shown that Fox News enhances people's ignorance of the facts. Look it up.
Things To Do Presidents Day Weekend in All 5 Boros of NYC
February 15, 2022 / Things To Do NYC / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This weekend is Presidents Day Weekend. For many, not all, it's a three day weekend. This means the Post Office and most federal, state and oftentimes municipal offices are also closed.
Presidents Day Weekend Weather as of this post 2/15/22. The Temperature highs will be in the high 50's on Friday and Monday, dipping into the 40's on Saturday and Sunday. The temperature lows will be in the mid 20's on Friday and Saturday, rising to the mid 30's and 40's on Sunday and Monday. Precipitation - There isn't any rain forecast for the Presidents Day Weekend, but at present there's an inch of rain forecast Thursday night starting around 9 pm. Winds- on Friday winds will pick up from 10 mph to 20 mph. On Saturday winds will peak at 20 mph and then fall back into the 5 - 10 mph range for the rest of the Presidents Day Weekend. The Humidity will range between 40% - 50% on Friday and Saturday, rising to 40% - 60% on Sunday, and 60% - 70% on Monday. Click for NYC Weather.
Brief History of Presidents Day Holiday in NYC
A day commemorating Lincoln's birthday was first passed in Buffalo, New York in the early 1870's. Presidents Day originated as Washington's Birthday which was a holiday narrowly prescribed for federal government offices in Washington, D.C. in 1879. The holiday was dedicated to honoring the memory of the first American president, George Washington who was born on February 22, 1732.
In 1885 the holiday was expanded to include all federal government offices around the nation. In 1951 there was a push to create a Presidents Day holiday [vs a George Washington's birthday holiday] to include President Lincoln whose birthday is February 12, 1809 and was also celebrated by localities, but it didn't pass.
In 1971 the holiday was moved off of George Washington's birth date to being the third Monday in February. Thus while it never falls upon Washington's birthday 2/22, the official name of the holiday remains Washington's Birthday. But today, most folks refer to it as Presidents Day and to recognize the presidents who honored the U.S. Constitution and served the interests of the people.
More coming Friday.
Honoring the Sacrifice Made by NYPD Officers Mora & Rivera
Mora & Rivera were Policemen, Civilians, Minorities, Immigrant and son of, Husband, Sons, Brothers and Real Heroes
What Can We do to Make Sure they didn't die in Vain?
February 7, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
On Wednesday morning I made my way into Manhattan to observe the funeral of slain NYPD Officer Mora. To be sure, it was a solemn occasion. I got off the subway near 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Once above ground, I made my way to Fifth Avenue and 42nd where I came across the largest gathering of police officers I have ever seen in my life [see photo at right].
As I walked up Fifth Avenue, I could hear the eulogies over the loud speakers, echoing in the street. I took a few photos and some video of the gathering which spanned all the way up to 50th Street by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Eventually I had to detour off of Fifth Avenue, make my way down to Sixth Avenue, and then cut back in at 50th Street to get close to the cathedral on Fifth Avenue.
A Communal Gathering of Policemen from the TriState Area and Beyond, at Officer Mora's Funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022
As I walked and listened I looked around at all of the policemen gathered in honor of a fellow member of the fraternal order of policemen – not just of New York City but of NYS - and for that matter - the U.S. All of the police men and women were standing, some standing silently listening to the speeches, while others made small talk with each other, between the speeches, about their kids, their families, their jobs, their departments [homicide / detectives / street patrolmen], cars and boats, as well as chatting about which police department or organization they represented.
It reminded me of other funerals I had attended, which it’s been said, are for the living – not the dead. Yes, we come to honor the dead, but they have since gone. And it is left to us who are left behind, to make sense of things. It is our job to figure out how to take the lessons their lives and make them work for us, so that they will not have died in vain.
The expansiveness of the showing of support was somewhere between impressive and overwhelming, as I walked silently through this sea of dark blue, which filled over 8 city blocks on a wide avenue - and which spilled well into the cross streets both east and west of the entire eight blocks. There were thousands of police, mostly men with some women, mostly white but also many minorities, who had come to pay their last respects for a member of their ranks who had made the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice that all of them know they must be ready to make each day as they don their dark coats to serve and protect the community. Us.
I noticed the badges sewn to their coats, representing Trenton and Teaneck New Jersey, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, New York State, and of course the NYPD, as well as a smattering of policemen from more distant communities. They projected a sense of sadness and courtesy, as I made my way through the crowd. I sensed that they must also have felt some measure of comfort, standing there, side by side with others like themselves, knowing that they are supported by so many others who share their sense of duty, ready to face down danger.
This seemed a bit like a George Floyd like moment for the police in the city and perhaps the nation. These two young officers, were senselessly murdered, while responding to a domestic violence call within a few blocks of the 32nd precinct Harlem police station where the two police officers worked. Shortly after the policemen entered the apartment, the assailant shot them down with a barrage of bullets from a semi-automatic gun which the assailant had stolen in Maryland.
As I came upon St Patrick’s Cathedral, surrounded by the police, it seemed like a fortress with its big, thick church doors closed, to keep out the noise and cold air while the mass continued inside. A coterie of media people were on a platform across the street from the front of the cathedral, waiting for the doors to open. The Mayor, Police Commissioner Sewell and Wilbur Mora’s brother and sister gave speeches. Karina, Mora's sister, gave her speech in Spanish, as the Moras immigrated here from the Dominican Republic decades ago.
Some will Exploit & Distort Crime Stats & Events to Manipulatively Divide Us
They will Seek to Profit from our Divisions, Instead of Helping us to Find Common Ground in an Effort to Fix Things
February 7, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The graphic at right is a Vox headline that asks why the diverging trends in crime vs violent crime.
Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch controls about half of our daily national corporate news media, including Fox News, the NY Post, the Wall St Journal and - along with two other Fox News investment funds - controls the largest share of ABC News stock.
For decades now, in English-speaking nations around the world, the propagandists posing as journalists who work for Murdoch, appear to distort the news so that Murdoch's favored politicans will get elected. Once elected, those pols seem to grant Murdoch huge tax breaks, regulatory changes and legislative favors in exchange for his propagandistic support of their candidacies.
The cost to us, the American people [the British and Australians as well] is that many critical issues are never properly addressed by the government officials selected by Murdoch, because his favored pols are generally chosen and supported based on what they will do for the totally self-serving billionaire - not the public. Hence Murdoch pols don't appear to reflect the people's will, but rather are chosen because Murdoch mass media outlets have manipulated the views of enough voters via their distorted daily Murdoch mass media 'news' intake, to enable Murdoch's favored pols to get elected. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels employed these same kind of tactics, on an unsuspecting public, back in the early 1930's, in Germany.
At right is a graphic showing one of Murdoch's mini-Goebbels, pushing a false narrative that is designed to enrich himself and his billionaire boss by demonizing Democrats. The goal seems to use these issues promote false narratives that favor their pliant pols into powerful positions in government so that they can change policies to pump up the billionaire's propaganda profits. One such example is that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave ABC / Disney a half billion dollar tax break last summer and thereafter he appeared to have an open mic on Fox News with propagandists like the Tucker shown above.
To Rein in Guns & Violent Crime, We Must First Rein in Murdoch's Fox, WSJ, NY Post & Increasingly ABC News Distortions & Disinformation on the Subject
Reining in the guns used in violent crime in NYC, is one of many such issues that seem to be given Murdoch's special brand of propagandistic 'news' treatment. Murdoch's news outlets' reports appear to pander to gun owners and the NRA [5.5 million members], who are outspoken and generally against gun control. According to a November 13, 2020 report by Gallup, about 32% of Americans own a gun and about 44% live in a household where there is a gun owner. Hence, gun owners represent a fairly sizeable block of Murdoch's mass media audience, and his news reports pander to them, just as the pander to other voting blocks that Murdoch media seek to manipulate.
At right is a map showing which states have the highest homicide rates. Note that the states with the highest homicide mortality rates are governed by the Republicans - the ones who claim they stand for law and order. But what many of the Republicans in these states really seem to stand for, are the special interest groups like the gun-promoting NRA. Urban police forces, which are generally found in Democratically governed cities, are finding that the guns used in the murders in their cities, are coming from the Republican states. Republican governed states have the nation's highest murder rates [see graph above] and most lax guns laws. I don't think it is helpful to policize this issue by demonizing the other side, but given Rupert Murdoch's grip on our national discourse through his ownership, control and influence over half of our daily national corporate media, somebody has got to push back with the truth.
Valentines Day Restaurants in NYC 2022
Dining Out on Valentine's Day 2022 in the 5 Boros of NYC
February 1, 2022 / NYC Restaurants / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.
Two weeks from this past Monday is Valentine's Day in NYC. We have nearly completed a round up of a number of restaurants by borough that will be open, offering indoor and / or outdoor dining on that day.
One thing worth noting is that with outdoor seating, lower levels of tourism in the city - and depending on your loved one's stickling for exactness / detail - it's possibly fair game to celebrate the occasion on any weekend night, which should ensure you luck in booking a reservation.
The flip side of that coin is that many restaurants have gone under since the pandemic began and there just may be sufficient cabin fever to make this a gangbuster dining holiday.
So, here are links to Valentine's Day dining in all five of NYC boroughs by boro. And remember NYC CoVid protocols remain in effect which require proof of vaccination for those eligible including kids and the wearing of masks except when you're eating and drinking. And outdoor dining is also an option, as this has been an unusually warm winter.
Do TV Newspeople Tend to Hype Weather to Keep Viewers Inside Watching TV?
Why Would They do that? Maybe because it Generates Higher Ratings, which Increases Revenue & Profits
January 28, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The TV newspeople appear to hype weather systems, to keep viewers inside all weekend, so they'll watch TV, and boost the corporate TV ratings to generate more revenue.
You can see an example of this in the graphic at right which shows a June 13, 2019 Washington Post report where a weatherman was fired by Sinclair Broadcasting, at a Murdoch ABC News station affiliate, because the weatherman wasn't going to use 'Code Red' to hype inclement weather systems, if he didn't think they merited such labeling.
This weekend the weather system coming in this evening is expected to end by about 3 pm Saturday, so while there may be an unknown number of inches of snow on the ground in NYC in January [what a concept], it shouldn't prevent New Yorkers from enjoying at least part of the weekend. But that said, be advised that while the snow should end by 3 pm, the winds die down more slowly, lasting the remainder of Saturday. And these comments apply to activities within NYC [not Long Island nor New Jersey] as public transit may be used in lieu of an auto, and as of this report, the MTA has no plans of shutting down.
The weatherman mentioned in the graphic above, was fired for not distorting the truth, in a manner not unlike what one would expect at a state-controlled media outlet in Russia or China. Hyping weather systems out of proportion, like distorting the proportions of other stories, appears to be one of the Murdoch mass media trademark ploys to deceive / fear monger the viewers in order to win higher rating$$$, take control the national conversation and tip the scales in favor of the pols he favors and against those he does not.
Rupert Murdoch is an Australian born billionaire press lord who controls about half of America's daily national news media including Fox News, the NY Post, the Wall St. Journal and increasingly ABC News where he and two funds control about a quarter of that company's shares.
While Weather Sensationalism is Dishonest Truth Distortion, it's Relatively Harmless vis a vis Most Other News Distortions which can be Dangerous to Democracy
In Australia - where Murdoch has been operating all his life - former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described, "Murdoch's media empire as a cancer on democracy" because of Murdoch media news omissions and distortions.
And in Britain, a Spring 2012 Parliamentary Report stated that, [Murdoch] "was not a fit person" to exercise stewardship of a major international company] because his company broke the law by tapping British citizens' private phones to get racy stories and the details of their personal tragedies in order to generate higher ratings and sell more newspapers. Murdoch denied he knew anything, blamed his underlings and then reportedly Murdoch's [Fox] Newscorp spent $1.6 BILLION in legal fees and payouts - TO DEFEND THEIR INNOCENCE?
In the graphic at right is a July 28, 2011 Guardian report stating that people working for Murdoch's company were believed to have hacked the phone of Sara Payne to publish her anguish over her daughter's murder at the hands of a pedophile. Murdoch reportedly spent $1.6 billion in settlements and legal fees to extricate the company and its officers from the corruption and scandal. But money can't buy Murdoch out of what Newscorp's actions say about his and his companies' moral compass.
Was the Staten Island Ferry Sale a Joke?
Did You Hear the One about a Staten Island Ferry, Two Comedians, an Architect & a Night Club Owner?
Updated January 26 from 1/24/2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC News / Staten Buzz NYC.
Weather. The temperature highs will be within about 5 degrees of 30 throughout the week, except on Tuesday when it will be in the low 40's. The temperature lows will be between 20 and 30 degrees, except on Wednesday, when it will drop to 12 degrees. The winds will be 5 - 10 mph Monday & Tuesday, rising to 10 - 15 mph on Wednesday, before falling back to 5 - 10 mph Thursday & Friday. Humidity will be 50% - 70% on Monday, dropping to 50% - 60% on Tuesday, and then 40% - 50% on Wednesday & Thursday, before rising back to 50% - 70% on Friday. No precipitation is in the forecast until Friday afternoon / evening at which time it looks like we're going to get several or more inches of snow.
As the new year begins to unfold, we encounter a mixed bag of news that has already made it out onto the public stage. Let's start with the purchase of a de-commissioned Staten Island Ferry, the JFK. The photo above right was taken in January 2020, likely near the end of the JFK's life of ferrying passengers to and from Staten Island. You can see the 'JFK' in the upper right corner of the photo below the black circle and with a bit of glare obfuscating part of the 'F'.
They may be Laughing Now, but ...
SNL Comedians Pete Davidson & Colin Jost, Architect Developer & Contractor Ron Castellano and Night Club Owner Paul Italia Buy the JFK Staten Island Ferry Boat
Last week, after several rounds of bidding, a consortium of investors, including SNL Comedians Pete Davidson & Colin Jost; Architect, Developer & Contractor Ron Castellano; and Night Club Owner Paul Italia purchased a 2,100 ton de-commissioned Staten Island ferry boat - the JFK - for $280,100. The purchase prices was only $100 above the next nearest bid, after the price doubled during the bidding process - up from $125,000 - after the starting bid had to be lowered from $250,000 because of a lack of early interest.
At right are Pete Davidson [left] and Colin Jost [right] announcing their new acquisition on SNL's News update. This project is likely to get a fair amount of publicity given the fame of these two owners and Jost's famous wife and Davidson's famous girlfriend.
News Updates - De Blasio Announcement & NYC Crime Stats 2021
De Blasio Decides Not to Run for NYS Governor, Hochul's Fundraising Haul, NYC Violent Crime Up Slightly in 2021, but NYC Homicides Still Below the National Average & To Be or Not To Be - do we want to Politicize the Guns / Violent Crime Problem or Solve it?
January 18, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This morning, January 18, 2022, former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will not seek the Governor's office on Twitter.
De Blasio mentioned some of his accomplishments during his eight years as Mayor including Universal Pre-K, building hundreds of thousands affordable housing units, implementing some police reforms at the NYPD to make policing fairer, and efforts to transition NYC to cleaner energy. He didn't say what his future plans were, only that he would be announcing them from his neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Governor Kathy Hochul is well positioned for the NYS Governors race this year. Hochul received the very early endorsement of the NYS Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs in October of 2021, and has raised $21.6 million since she announced her candidacy in August of 2021. It's a record for the five month period, and about the same amount of money that former Governor Andrew Cuomo had to ward off challengers in 2018. NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and 3rd District [Nassau County] Congressman Thomas Suozzi have announced their candidacies. In December of 2021, Attorney General Letitia James withdrew her candidacy, in favor of running for reelection in her current post.
On the Republican side of the race there's former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who is running against newcomer Andrew Giuliani, who's primary claim to fame is that he is the son of Rudy, the former NYC Mayor with the same surname and Lee Zeldin, a Congressman from Long Island.
In fundraising as well as in polling, Hochul seems to have all the advantages at this point in the campaign. Her nearest competitor in polling recently done by Siena would have been de Blasio, who had 12% of the vote versus Hochul's 46%. NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was next with 11% and Suozzi with 6%. The Suozzi campaign has about $5 million in campaign funding, $2 million of which was transferred from his congressional campaign. Republican Astorino has about $1.3 million, and none of the other contestants released their funding.
A number of snide comments were made in the wake of Hochul's record haul and competitive fundraising position for the upcoming June primary. She was compared to Cuomo with allusions to the possibility of corruption, but nothing specific was provided to support those insinuations.
De Blasio's announcement came as I was working on an update report on NYC crime. Unfortunately, the NYPD doesn't publish a December monthly report, like they do every other month, so it's more challenging to do a year end tally. Hence, this report won't be as comprehensive as some of the others I've done the past couple of years, and will instead focus mostly on shootings and the murder rate.
NYC Crime Statistics for 2021
Thefts Down Significantly / Murders Up Slightly & Still Below the National Average / Most Other Crimes up in Low to Mid Single Digits with Some Exceptions ...
The outlier in the year end crime stats, which were up slightly from 2020, was that thefts were down almost 19%. This may have something to do with the fact that fewer people are out and about, so thieves have fewer to prey upon and the victims have fewer distractions and events where thefts may occur.
As for other salient changes in the main categories, Grand Larceny was up about 12% while Grand Larceny Auto was up 14%, Other (than rape) Sex Crimes were up 30%, Misdemeanour Assault was up 10%, and Hate Crimes were up 93%. It's worth noting that only murders and hate crimes are counted in the hundreds - not thousands.
The murders in NYC were up slightly in 2021 versus 2020. Note that the graph at right is for the entire nation and in 2020 - not 2021. The purpose is so that you can have context in evaluating where we are and what's going on.
In 2021 the preliminary murder rate in the U.S. was about 6.6 per 100,000 people [21,750 / 330M], while the murder rate in NYC was 5.5 per 100,000 people [485 / 8.8M]. Prior to the pandemic, in 2018, the murder rate in the U.S. was 4.96 per 100,000 people [WorldPopulationReview.com], and the murder rate in NYC was 289 victims [8.4M population] or 3.4 per 100,000 people, which was the lowest on record. In 2012, during former Mayor Bloomberg's last year as NYC Mayor, the murder rate had fallen to 414 [8.2M] or about 5.0 per 100,000 people.
So with our larger population [8.8M vs 8.2M], NYC experienced a bit higher murder rate in former Mayor de Blasio's last year in office, versus former Mayor Bloomberg's last year in office. And for de Blasio this was in the midst of the pandemic amid record gun sales.
Martin Luther King Day Weekend Events / Things To Do in NYC
Things To Do in NYC over the MLK Day Weekend
January 10, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Things To Do Events / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The Martin Luther King Day Weekend is ony a few days away. Although significantly changed from last year, the CoVid Omicron variant is still wreaking some havoc, so you're advised to not only rsvp, but also check event websites prior to departing for the event.
Weather. The MLK Weekend forecast as of January 10, 2022. The Temperature highs will range from 20 to 30 degrees through the long weekend. The temperature lows will range from 10 to 25, rising as the weekend progresses. As of this post, no precipitation is expected over the MLK Day Weekend. Winds will be about 10 mph throughout the long weekend, except Friday when they'll be a bit higher [13 mph]. The Humidity will be between 30% - 60%, dipping on Saturday from the highs on Friday and Monday.
Click for an update on NYC Weather.
Brief History of Martin Luther King Holiday in NYC
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist Minister who became the leading voice for African Americans' non-violent civil rights movement beginning in the mid 1950's through to his assassination in 1968. In 1983, the third Monday of every year was set aside to honor Martin Luther King for his service to the nation. The third Monday was chosen, as it was the nearest Monday to the anniversary of King's birthday, which was January 15, 1929.
Martin Luther King Day has grown to take on an even larger meaning, as it is oftentimes referred to as a day on, versus a day off. Organizations around the city and nation have used the day to call people into action to address the needs of the community through volunteering and service.
As Martin Luther King Day is a national holiday, it's worth keeping in mind that many / most federal offices will be closed, along with a number of businesses.
The following links will take you to MLK Day of Service and civil rights related events happening over the MLK Weekend in each NYC borough.
Click here for Things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in the Bronx.
Click here for Things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Brooklyn.
Click here for Things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Manhattan.
Click here for Things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend in Queens.
Click here for Things to do Martin Luther King Day Weekend on Staten Island.
We'll also have an update with additional events this Friday. Enjoy.
The Great Supply Chain Crisis 2021: Hype vs Reality
TV & Murdoch News Sensationalized the Great Supply Chain Crisis of 2021 - Telling us for Months on End No Pumpkins for Halloween, No Turkeys for Thanksgiving, No Trees for Christmas & No Cream Cheese in NYC
But How Much of that Hyping was a Murdoch Inspired Perspective in Pursuit of Political Profit & Fear Mongering Ratings at the Expense of Reporting What's Really Happening?
January 3, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Things To Do Events / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The closer I pay attention to what's happening in our mass media, the more concerned I get. Nearly half of our daily nationally branded news media is controlled by one man, Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch - who strikes me as either a sociopath or psychopath. Based on the seven years I've been covering Murdoch, it appears as if he doesn't care about anything other than enriching and empowering himself, even at 90 years of age [his mother lived to 103 so he's likely going to be with us for a while].
What Those Who Know Murdoch Say About Him
In Australia - where Murdoch has been operating all his life - former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described,
"Murdoch's media empire as a cancer on democracy".
And in Britain, a Parliamentary Report stated that,
[Murdoch] "was not a fit person" to exercise stewardship of a major international company].
Keith Rupert Murdoch, controls the Wall St. Journal, Fox News, the NY Post, Harper Collins Publishing, MarketWatch, Barrons - and along with two of Fox News largest shareholders - Murdoch appears to have a controlling interest in Disney / ABC by virtue of what seems his proximity to their relatively new CEO. Murdoch's influence appears to be manifesting itself in personnel moves being made since he became one of their largest shareholders in March of 2019. The personnel moves are in their news and related programming areas, and ultimately impact what ABC News presents to the public. I just witnessed one of many subtle changes on Sunday, while watching This Week with George Stephanopolous. I'll say more about this at the end of this report.
Fox News Lyin' Laura Ingraham, earned that moniker, as you can see in the image above. Fox News has repeatedly used misleading photos and images to lend deceptive and misleading support to their news accounts, which appear designed to influence the unaware and low information voters, in order to get them to vote for billionaire Murdoch's favored pols and against the very government officials who are trying to help the manipulated victims.
New Years Resolutions 2022: The Road Ahead
A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year
January 1, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Holidays / Gotham Buzz NYC.
For all of us, today starts the beginning of a new year.
If we stay the course with vaccinations, masks, social distancing and hand washing, we should be able to make the transition from pandemic to endemic - at which point things begin to really change to a better normal, but likely not back to a pre-CoVid normal.
A year ago I thought by now we would have mostly normalized, but I had failed to take into consideration the significant resistance to vaccinations by the people who rely upon Rupert Murdoch's overwhelming share of nationally branded daily mass media 'news'.
Rupert Murdoch controls Fox News, the NY Post, the Wall St Journal and he, along with the two largest investment groups owning Fox, control Disney / ABC News. So that's half of U.S. network news and two the largest daily newspapers in the nation. He controls other media outlets as well, like MarketWatch and Barron's and Harper Collins Publishing, but the first four mentioned above are instrumental in shaping Americans' view of things. And the unsuspecting members of Murdoch's audience aren't aware enough, nor paying attention enough, nor educated enough to detect the very sophisticated news manipulations that Murdoch and his minions seem to do every day to sculpt and present the reality they want their viewers to see - which is not reality at all, but a VoldeMurdoch version of it.
Other media outlets and moderate Republicans and pretty much all Democrats need to start calling Murdoch out into the public space so people can see who he is and what he does and what he takes in exchange for it. They need to do it, because regardless of whether they do or not, Murdoch's incessant media attacks will keep coming, so by not addressing him and it, they are only aiding and abetting it, like all those who let Goebbels do the same in Germany in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's.
The rest of this report is about some of the things you can do personally - not politically - to make 2022 a better year for you.
Omicron, CoVid, Omicron, CoVid ... STOP
NYC News Update With as little CoVid Omicron Specific Info as Possible
This Report includes the Over Hyped 'Supply Chain Xmas Tree Shortage', Broadway Show Cancellations & Postponements & Economic Impact, MTA Subway Trains & Airline Flights Cancellations due to Staffing Outages, the Tug of War between Office Workers & their Companies, JFK getting New Terminals & Staten Island getting New Ferries
December 27, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Things To Do Events / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
Weather. Temperature highs are between 40 and 50 degrees each day, and the lows are about 40 each day. Humidity will be between 60% - 80% all week. And the wind will be fairly steady at 5 - 10 mph daily. There's a chance of showers around 8 pm tonight and a chance of a tenth inch of rain on each day - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Given the low amount of precipitation and that it's spread out over the entire day, each day, I'd say your chances of getting very wet are pretty slim.
CoVid, CoVid, CoVid ... How We Moved Beyond it as a Conversation Centerpiece at an Xmas Party
So I attended a Christmas party a couple of weekends ago, and at one point someone asked is there anything else to talk about besides CoVid? This was near the end of the party, so there were only about a dozen of us there. So, someone asked, how about those Nets? And of course, Kylie Irving soon came up, and his anti-vax stance on CoVid, and that the Nets had to postpone a number of games because of ... CoVid.
Someone else asked, whose traveling for the holidays? As you can imagine, it wasn't long before CoVid came up and how it was going to affect everyones' holiday travel plans. Another asked, whether people were going to see their kids over the holidays. And of course, the discussion about vaccinations, testing and masks ensued. And then someone asked about gifts being given this season, and eventually the impact of CoVid on shipping and supply chain ensued. How about going out to dinner ... and so forth.
Actually, it turned out to be kind of funny, in an ironic sort of way, as the pandemic was still touching most parts of people's lives.
But the good news is that we eventually did move on past CoVid. Onto what? Well that's personal and thus not going to be shared here publicly, but we did eventually make it past the CoVid goal line ... but it wasn't as easy as one would think it should have been.
So the rest of this report is going to be about other things affecting our life, but recognizing that the pandemic and our community health affects just about everything else.
How Real was the TV News Hyped Supply Chain & Xmas Tree Shortage?
Retail Sales Hit a Level Not seen in 17 Years in Spite of "No Supply"?
How is it that network TV news, still a primary source of information in this nation - and the only source by many of the uneducated - can get a story so wrong?
For months they've been hyping the SUPPLY CHAIN SHORTAGE, SUPPLY CHAIN SHORTAGE, SUPPLY CHAIN SHORTAGE. I've seen little on TV news saying anything else to the contrary, and yet somehow, retailers magically had the best holiday sales season in 17 years, with department store sales up 21% [that's huge] and online sales up 8% [also very solid performance].
Did retailers MAGICALLY turn in their best performance in 17 years without any inventory? Come on.
People need to start questioning the information they get on TV, because too often, it's so distorted in order to generate an emotional or fearful response that's good for ratings and profit - but not in the public interest.
A December 26, 2021 report in Politico provided the following update on retail sales,
"... By category, clothing rose 47%, jewelry 32%, electronics 16%. Online sales were up 11% from a year ago and 61% from 2019. Department stores registered a 21% increase over 2020 ..."
New Years Eve Parties & Events in NYC 2021 / 2022
It Seems a Mostly Normalized Holiday as of this Writing, but Requiring a few Adjustments
December 15, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Things To Do Events / Gotham Buzz NYC.
Weather Forecast for New Years Eve. It's still a bit early to obtain a reliable weather forecast for New Years Eve, which is over two weeks away. But since that doesn't stop the TV weather people from making forecasts, I won't let it stop me. Using the Wednesday before New Years Eve as a benchmark, it looks like the temperature high will be just below 40 and the temperature low will be just below 30. No rain is forecast, winds will be about 10 mph and humidity will likely be on the lower side.
Here are links to some New Years Eve parties and events planned around the five boroughs. These pages are mostly done and we will finish updating them a bit later in the week.
Bronx New Years Eve Parties and Events 2021 NYC
Brooklyn New Years Eve Parties and Events 2021 NYC
Manhattan New Years Eve Parties and Events 2021 NYC
Queens New Years Eve Parties & Events 2021 NYC
Staten Island New Years Eve Parties and Events NYC
Omicron Sweeps NYC & the Rest of the U.S.
NYS Hit its Highest Number of New Cases Friday 12.17.21, Omicron Now Dominant Strain in America [73%], Breakthrough Infections & Need for Boosters, Multiple Measures of Vaccine Effectiveness, NYS Governor Hochul Foreshadows Change to Definition of Fully Vaccinated Likely Coming Soon, NYC Mayor de Blasio Offers $100 to those who Boost Before Year End, False Positives Coming from Some Testing Kits, Hospitalizations Trending Toward Younger Age Groups & Kids Getting Infected at Higher Rates
It's Not the Omicron Virus that is Dividing Us. It's the Manipulative Murdoch Mass Media, that Continually Misinforms its Audiences. The Highly Paid Propagandists do This in Order Enrich Themselves & Empower the 90 Year Old Multi-Billionaire by Undermining the Government Officials who Won't Give Rupert what he wants out of the Public Purse & Domain
December 20, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Things To Do Events / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
So the Omicron variant represents the third wave of Corona Virus sweeping the land. First it was the original CoVid 19, then the Delta variant and now Omicron.
The Omicon variant spreads far more easily and hence far faster than the prior two variants, which spread around the globe in a matter of months. Omicron is beating them hands down in terms of spreading, even in nations that have some good measure of vaccinations - but nowhere near the two thirds plus needed for 'herd immunity'. Reportedly, the Omicron is spreading 2x to 4x faster than the Delta variant which reportedly spread faster [by about 50%] than the original strain of CoVid. As of the last week of testing, Omicron represents 73% of all new cases in the U.S.
In the graphic at right you see a headline from FT, which is the Financial Times of London, noting how something that should be common sense has become a political hot potato. At the end of this update on the Omicron variant, we'll take a look at how science and the truth are being distorted by millionaires and billionaire(s) in what appears an attempt to manipulate voters perceptions. The goal is to change the perceptions of their viewers enough, so their viewers will vote for the candidates chosen by the propaganda billionaire and his friends. The end game is, of course, getting the billionaire / propaganda machine selected pols into office, so they can fill their pockets with the taxpayers' money, and obtain legislative changes that are anti-democratic.
Oftentimes reports like that found in the Financial Times fail miserably to call out media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who controls an overwhelming share of the daily national news media in the U.S., Britain and Australia. For my money, Murdoch [not Trump] is the root cause of so many of our current problems by virtue of the disinformation he spreads, which is inserted into many of the news reports that his organizations deliver to well over a hundred million people each day. Murdoch hides behind his media brands, propagandists and favored pols, while the other media and government officials seem either: 1) ignorant of his incredible influence on our daily news, and thus a huge swath of American people's views, or 2) are unwilling to do the right thing and call Murdoch out into the open so the public can get a closer look at who's dominating the national conversation.
The last point made is an important one for the Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems lawsuits [more on this below]. My advice to their attorneys, is to hire a great public relations firm to publicize the hell out of each case, making damned sure to include Keith Rupert Murdoch in EVERY news release / update as the slithery Murdoch - like Voldemort in Harry Potter - doesn't like the light of day. And then ride the case to the end, because you're in the right, and what you're fighting for is - in part - the heart and soul of America.
NYS Sees its Highest Number of Daily New CoVid Cases Since Pandemic Began
In NYC New Infections Double in 3 Days & in the U.S. Omicron is now 73% of New Cases
A testament to the Omicron variants transmissibility is that on Friday, December 17, 2021 NYS saw its highest number of new CoVid cases [21,027] in a single day since the pandemic began according to an New York Times report. In NYC the infection rate nearly doubled in just three days, rising from 3.9% to 7.8% from Thursday, December 9 to December 12, 2021 according to a December 16, 2021 NBC report.
I checked the NYC website a couple of weeks ago and found the chart at right, which - to my surprise - showed Whites as the second slowest group to vaccinate. Hispanics were a full ten percentage points ahead of them, and African Americans were only three percentage points behind them. I interpret this as the power of Murdoch's media in NYC as he owns / controls Fox News on WNYW [channel 5], WWOR [channel 9], the NY Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
2ND HALF DECEMBER WEEKEND THINGS TO DO NYC
This section contains our Weekend Things To Do reports for the second half of the month of December 2021. Click into this link to see second half of December 2021 weekend reports.
1st HALF DECEMBER WEEKEND THINGS TO DO NYC
This section contains our Weekend Things To Do reports for the first half of the month of December 2021. Click into this link to see all November 2021 weekend reports.
CoVid Update – Omicron Variant, Vax Updates, Vax Boosters, Vax Kids & Manipulative NYC Based Disinformation Sources
December 6, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Social Issues Health News / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The first Omicron virus case was first detected on November 8, 2021 in South Africa. The first case detected in the U.S. was in San Francisco on November 22, 2021. Four days later, on November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization [WHO] designated Omicron a CoVid variant [B1.1.529]. As of December 5, 2021 there were eight Omicron cases in NYS, most of which were found in NYC.
Early Precautions in the Face of Omicron’s Rapid Spread
On November 26, 2021, President Biden instituted a temporary travel ban on South Africa and neighboring countries including, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. He also shortened the CoVid testing time from three to one days, for those traveling internationally. The passenger must test negative for CoVid. And he extended the mask mandate for those using public transit domestically to March 15, 2021.
The reason for taking these early immediate precautions is that the Omicron variant appears to be spreading at twice the rate of the Delta variant, which overwhelmed this nation within about 3 - 4 months [May - August 2021].
The Omicron variant was also detected in Belgium, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and Israel at the time the news broke regarding the rapid spread of the new variant at the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday. As of this writing the Omicron variant has been found in 15 states including, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally on December 5, 2021.
Vaccine Efficacy vis a vis Omicron Variant
The Omicron variant is known to be more transmissible, but it’s health impact is still being studied. Most of those who contracted the Omicron variant had been vaccinated, and hence it is believed that most suffered fairly mild symptoms because they had CoVid antibodies in their systems. By the end of this week [12/10/21] or sometime the following week, early test results on vaccine efficacy vis a vis Omicron are expected.
One health official noted that efficacy isn’t measured as a simple yes or no, but rather in degrees. The strongest efficacy prevents one from catching the virus, the medium measure of efficacy is how troublesome the symptoms - ranging from mild to hospitalization, and the weakest efficacy – meaning no efficacy is death.
CoVid prognosticators believe that the current vaccines will continue to offer some measure of protection / efficacy, but they caution that at some point it may be necessary to create a separate vaccine for new CoVid variants.
*** 5 Boros WS Update
Eric Adams Wins in Landslide Defeating Sliwa by More than 2:1
Republican Voter Turnout Was Strong on Long Island, but not in NYC
November 3, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
Moderate Democrat Eric Adams sailed to victory Tuesday to become NYC's second African American Mayor. Democrat David Dinkins was the first. With 78% of the precincts reporting Adams won 676,481 votes to Sliwa's 293,127.
Democrat Jumaane Williams was re-elected Public Advocate, garnering 598,810 votes which was nearly 69% of the total, with 93% of the scanners reporting.
Progressive Democrat Brad Lander won the NYC Comptroller position, winning 604,000 of the votes, or 70% of the vote with 93% of the scanners counted.
And Democrat Alvin Bragg won the Manhattan District Attorney office, garnering 183,000 votes or 83% of the total.
Four of the five Borough Presidencies were won by Democrats. In Manhattan Mark Levine handily won the borough presidency with 181,000 votes or 85% of the total, with 93% of scanners counted. In Queens Donovan Richards handily won re-election, winning 160,000 votes or 66% of the total, with 79% of the precincts reporting. In Brooklyn Antonio Reynoso also won handily, winning 217,000 votes or 73% of the total, with 78% of the precincts reporting. In the Bronx Vanessa Gibson took in 80,000 votes which was 80% of the total, with 72% of the precincts reporting.
And on Staten Island, the only Republican to win a Borough Presidency, Vito Fossella, won 60,000 votes or 60% of the total, with 87% of the precincts reporting.
The Nature of Democracy is Compromise
How Else Would a Majority of 330 Million People Get Agreement on Anything?
September 30, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics & Government / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
There are a couple of important legislative bills being debated in the House and Senate. On the one hand you have the Progressive Caucus threatening to hold, or even kill, the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate. And on the other you have a couple of Democratic Senators withholding their votes on passing the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill.
Trump left office leaving a multi-trillion dollar deficit in 2020, and the same is expected to occur this year, regardless of the votes on the pending bills. If both bills pass, these huge deficits could spell significant trouble for American business, the economy and the people employed by them by virtue of impacting the trading rate for our currency vis a vis other currencies around the world. The combination of these bills could significantly devalue the purchasing power of the dollar.
If neither bill passes, Biden along with EVERY OTHER Democrat, would be negatively impacted. By possibly failing to pass at least one of the measures, while holding majorities in both chambers, the Democrats would leave themselves wide open to the opposition labeling them "Do Nothing Democrats". And you can be sure that Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, NY Post, Wall St Journal and ABC News would not let that opportunity slip by unheralded, unhyped and unsensationalized by his plethora of putrid propagandists.
There comes a time when one must step back and see the bigger picture. And at present, the bigger picture is that the Democrats can score a BIG WIN, by passing the Infrastructure Bill - as that can be a rallying cry for them in the 2022 midterms and beyond. In passing the Infrastructure Bill, Biden and the Democrats would have accomplished something that President Trump and the Republicans failed to do, with even bigger majorities in both chambers.
It would be very sad, to see the Democrats let this opportunity slip away, because they fail to do what American legislators have done beginning with the inception of the republic - which is to compromise in order to get something done. We are at an important inflection point, voters, so pay heed to who votes which way, so that in 2022 and beyond, you'll know who is so uncompromising, that they will never get anything done.
Senator Bernie Sanders' legislative record is a case in point. In March of 2020, I did a story that, in part, focused on Sanders' legislative record, which was abysmal. Click here for our report on Senator Sanders' legislative record where no legislation of any significance was passed.
I like Bernie, and in 2016 found his candidacy to be of great interest. I think he's an important player in politics in our day, and continues to play an important role in the national conversation. But that said, the reason Biden won out for the presidency, is that Sanders has never achieved anything legislatively. Click here for our report on Senator Sanders' candidacy for president in 2016.
Economic Snapshot NYC & US
In spite of Non-Vaxers’ Negative Impact on the Recovery, Generally the Economy Appear to be Steadily Improving
September 21, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Business & Economy / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
It’s been a while since I have done an economic update, and as we head into the Fall, it seems a good time to look through the tea leaves to figure out where we are and what risks lie ahead between now and the New Year.
The graph at right, created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows employment in the U.S. from 1940 to date. To the far right of the graph, you can see the huge dip in employment in the Spring of 2020, as the pandemic hit. Since then U.S. employment has recovered, but not yet completely.
Unemployment Back to Normal Levels & Stimulus Winding Down
Unemployment continues to decline, and the unemployment rate reflects a growing economy and a tight labor market. One debated theory about the tight labor market, is that it was fueled in part by some of the generous government spending programs, designed to cushion folks from the pandemic, which some believed kept workers out of the employment market. As of this posting, we’ve not seen any good study that proves or disproves that hypothesis. So for now, I recommend you consider that hearsay, at least until you or I find one or more reliable studies that proves or disproves that hypothesis.
In any event, a good measure of both the federal and states stimulus programs have begun to wind down. Beginning in late Spring / early Summer, both states and the federal government began reducing or withdrawing the funding for extra [federal] and extended [states] unemployment benefits.
NYC & NYS Continue to Have Lower Murder Rates Than the Rest of the Nation
The Past Couple of Months, NYC Murders have been Below 2019 Levels, and NYC Shootings are Down Double Digits versus 2020, While Gun Arrests Have Doubled vs 2020
August 31, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Crime & Law Enforcement / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This is news you're not likely to find in Australian born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's NY Post, Wall St. Journal nor Fox News because it doesn't fit with Murdoch's self-enriching, propagandistic narratives of blaming Democrats for the increase in violent / gun crimes. He appears to use such narratives to get the politicians who will give him tax breaks, and allow him to continue deregulating his industries, so he can make ever more money at the expense of American Democracy.
The NYPD has been working hard to rein in the out-of-control sales and trafficking of guns in the nation, because of the absence of an intelligent debate on national gun control legislation to combat the growing gun violence, and in particular the mass shootings, that started rising again during the Trump Administration and continued rising in the wake of the CoVid pandemic.
Year To Date Murders in NYC are Below the National Average & Have Begun Falling Versus 2020
So we're going to take a look at a number of the NYC crime statistics, and then follow up with an analytical look at some of the issues driving gun related violence, before closing with a look at the distorted, deceitful and destructive coverage provided by Murdoch's Fox News & Propaganda.
As you can see by the chart at right, with the exception of GLA or Grand Larceny Auto and YTD / Year To Date Shootings, all NYC crime is either in the single digits or down, versus last year. It's important to note however, that in July shootings dropped by 35% versus prior year [up 17% YTD], while gun arrests were up 134% versus the prior year [up 68% YTD], so the NYPD continues to make good progress in this regard. And murders were down 49% in July versus prior year and down 10% year to date.
The chart at right shows the NYPD Crime statistics for the month of July 2021 and Year To Date 2021. I have also included comparisons to 2019 as 2020 was an unusual year all the way around - including for NYC crime.
The Iron Pipeline - Interstate 95 - is used to Transport Guns from Primarily Red Republican States with Lax Gun Laws
The graphic at right shows what is called the 'Iron Pipeline' which is Interestate 95 which runs from New York to Florida. This interestate highway is used to transport guns / weapons across state lines from mostly red Republican controlled states with lax gun control laws to blue states that have passed stronger gun control laws.
Once the guns arrive here, they are illegally sold and are the root of the gun violence and murder problem in New York City and New York State. Thankfully, Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Shea and the NYPD are on top of things, and have been working hard to rein in the problem, even in the absense of national legislative help.
I think President Biden should look into the possibility of using federal powers regulating interstate commerce, to curtail the transport and sale of guns into states that have tighter regulatory frameworks surrounding the sale of murder weapons. And perhaps the district attorneys in our city and state should consider naming the people who sell these guns, as accessories or even accomplices, to the crimes committed with them.
Next Gen & CoVid - Still the Talk of the Town
This Report Provides an Update on Why the Downward Trend in CoVid Infections Swung Back Up, the Science Behind the Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, the Lamda & Delta Variants, the Precautionary Wisdom of Continuing to Wear Masks & the Impact of Murdoch Controlled News Outlets Continuous Stream of Mass Media Disinformation
Is it the Patriotic Duty of Every Eligible American to Get Vaccinated?
August 9, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC during the CoVid Pandemic / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I reckon we all wish it weren't so, but CoVid 19 has been resurging with a vengeance these past couple of months, fueled largely by the Delta variant, which at the beginning of May 2021, accounted for less than 10% of U.S. new cases, while today it accounts for more than 90% of all new U.S. CoVid infections. What's most disturbing about this new trend is that even fully vaccinated people can catch the Delta variant, which was largely NOT the case with the original strain [alpha] of CoVid. The infections that are picked up by fully vaccinated people are called 'breakthrough' infections, because they have broken through the immunity protection provided by the vaccines.
In the graphic at right, note the large light blue at the right of the graphic, which denoted the Delta variant of CoVid which grew from almost nothing in May, to almost every new CoVid case in the U.S. in August.
The Delta Variant has Changed So Significantly, Hence the New CoVid Reign of Terror
I found a chart that I found of great interest in an August 5, 2021 story in the Gothamist, which was acquired by NPR in 2018. The chart shows how the original CoVid is almost non-existent in the U.S. today, while the Delta variant has risen to represent over 90% of all new cases.
The vaccines were developed to address the original CoVid stain, as the Delta variant - as noted above - didn't become a real factor until about May of this year. Thus, the vaccines efficacy in preventing CoVid has been significantly reduced, but thankfully the vaccines are still very effective in preventing the worst possible outcomes which are hospitalizations and death.
A Look Back at the NYC Municipal Primary Election Results of 2021
Females Won Big, But Because of Ranked Choice Voting, the Results Trickled in Over the Past Month, & Real Assessments of the Changed Landscape have yet to Follow
August 3, 2021 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
The June 22nd election primary for NYC municipal offices has long passed, but a solid look at the overall results of the election has not yet followed. What I will attempt to do today, is to offer provide a top down summary of the results, along with some interpretation of what this means going forward.
Women Won Big in the New York City Council Democratic Primaries
One of the biggest changes to municipal government likely to occur following the November election is that the NYC Council will move from less than a third women, to over half women for the first time in NYC history. This assumes most or all of the Democrats win their seats in the general election. This usually happens in a heavily blue state like New York, just as Republican primary winners in Alabama become the likely winners of the general election in that heavily red state. Somewhere between 29 and 31 of the Democratic primary winners in the NYC Council races were women out of a 51 member municipal legislative body.
CoVid NYC Economic Update
NYC Hotels, Restaurants & Entertainment Continue to Feel the CoVid Pain, Also Real Estate & Construction but Less so, and Things Should Gradually Improve in 2021
November 16, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Business & Real Estate NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
CoVid & Donald Continue Raging
So the CoVid pandemic is raging wildly in the nation, while the Demento in the White House is raging with reckless false claims about the 'rigged election'. The Donald also made these same false claims four years ago, when he won the electoral college contest, but failed to win the popular vote.
This time America's biggest loser lost both the electoral college vote contest and popular vote [by nearly six million], but the fraudster President has found his false claims of a stolen election, is a great way to raise funds from our nation's morons, who somehow still believe his lies. As the saying goes,
"We're all born ignorant. But you have to try really, really hard to remain so."
I consider Donald Trump losing the White House, to be the one silver lining coming out of the CoVid pandemic.
Meanwhile back in NYC, we continue to fare far better than the rest of the nation vis a vis CoVid, perhaps having learned our lessons last Spring. When I look at the CoVid map of the United States, I'm beginning to interpret it as a sort of national I.Q. test. Those places where it's raging most - almost a year since the pandora came out of the box - are states with slow learning media, slow learning government officials and slow learning populations. Otherwise, why would CoVid be raging again, after all that we have learned in the past year?